Deep Sky Update – April 2023

Sorry for another late update, but we are just past Full Moon so there won’t have been much in the way of Deep Sky Observing recently. I had originally thought to coincide the update with the Full Moon (like the original Lunar Society) , but in the end it seemed easier to coincide with the end of the calendar month.

In Orkney the nights have been really noticeably getting lighter and sunset has been moving northwards at a rate of knots. We have no astronomical darkness now, though, that ended on the 25th of April, and we won’t get any more until the 18th of August.
I have been amusing myself with some solar observing, and we had a week in April of Sun and no wind! There is some telescope maintenance and the observatory project, so much to do over the light summer months.

Cosmic Horseshoe

Grant Privett has written a short article about observing the Cosmic Horseshoe which I have posted as a Deep Sky Note (number 40) – you can read it at:

Webb Deep-Sky Society Annual Meeting

The Webb DSS annual meeting is always a highlight of the year. Sadly I won’t be able to make it this year but there is an excellent programme and I sure there will be an excellent lunch. It is on Saturday the 17th of June 2023 at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge
Full details can be found at:

NGC5044 – COAST – Alan Thomas

April Object Of Interest

The April object of interest was the NGC 5044 group of galaxies in Virgo. This would seem to have been a bit too hard of a target for UK observers. I certainly had a comment it was unobservable due to being too low. Alan Thomas observed with the COAST remote telescope in Tenerife, and his was the only image I received.

May Object Of Interest

For May, I thought I would try something a little easier, and something that has been observed before, but might not be at the forefront of people’s minds – the third Globular Cluster in Hercules, NGC 6229. At 9th magnitude and 4.5 arc-minutes across it should not be too hard. One listing I had for this noted it as ‘Dreyer’s Object’ – on investigation, it seems that Herschel and others thought it was a planetary nebula, but D’Arrest noted it as a cluster and then Dreyer classified it as a globular cluster in the New General Catalogue.

This months featured image(below) is the ‘Box‘, a group of galaxies in Coma known as Hickson 61. This splendid image is by David Strange.

I know for many the May New Moon period will be last of the dark nights as we approach the summer solstice, and I hope if you get the chance you will get some good observing.

Clear skies,

The Box – Hickson 61 in Coma – David Strange

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